New Oracle release: OBIEE 11.1.1.9.0 version

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Oracle released the OBIEE 11.1.1.9.0 version on May 14th. This should be considered the last minor version before OBIEE 12c is released this fall.

The new version adds some new features across the different sub-products. They are summarized in the following post. The most relevant innovations are highlighted.

OBIEE

New features for OBIEE developers aka Answers (full notes here)

  • Key Terminology Changes
  • Enhancements in Oracle Scorecard and Strategy Management
  • Enhancements in Dashboards (custom layouts for printing and exporting Pages through BIP)
  • Enhancements in Managing Accounts
  • Enhancements in Selection Steps (variable override)
  • Enhancements in the Export Functionality (several changes, it is yet to be seen whether HTML export works…)
  • Enhancements in Analyses (save custom formula columns in the catalog for future reuse, yai!)

New features for Repository builders (full notes here)

  • Whole Rpd Checkout Option Added to Multiuser Menu
  • Improvements to Aggregate Persistence
  • Initialization Block Written in JSON Syntax
  • Translation Keys
  • New Administration Tool Options
  • Script Added to Upgrade DataDirect Drivers
  • Cloudera Impala Supported
  • Access to Hyperion Planning Data Sources
  • Expanded Oracle 12c Database Support

New features for Security (full notes here)

  • New privileges (EVALUATE_PREDICATE)

New features for Integration (web services, full notes here)

  • SchedulerService Web Service

New features for Administrators (full notes here)

  • New Properties for Full-Text Search
  • New or Enhanced Configuration Elements (some of the configuration elements might be useful)
  • New NQSconfig.INI Settings
  • Debugging Agents Using Fusion Middleware Control

 

BI PUBLISHER

New features for BI Publisher Model Design (full notes here)

  • Oracle Endeca No Longer Supported as a Data Source
  • New Properties Added (interesting query_time_out property that will error a BI publisher report after X seconds)
  • New Custom Metadata Component to Support Oracle WebCenter Content Server
  • Oracle WebCenter Content Server Supported as a Bursting Destination

New features for BI Publisher Report Design (full notes here)

  • Support for Microsoft Word (.docx)

Kerberos authentication and delegation with Tableau and MSSAS

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Introduction

 

Kerberos is a three-way authentication protocol developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). As of Windows 2000, it has been the default authentication method in Microsoft Windows systems. Tableau Server version 8.3 has supported Kerberos since the release of version 8.3.

In this article we will explain how to configure Tableau Server with Kerberos to enable:

- Single Sign-On (SSO) authentication of Active Directory (AD) users.

- Authentication delegation to Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services (MSSAS).

Kerberos configuration

Kerberos is configured using the “Configure Tableau Server” application. The first step is to enable it in the “Kerberos” tab as shown below:

Kerberos

After enabling Kerberos, you must create the configuration script. In most cases you can simply use the default script generated by Tableau when you click the “Export Kerberos Configuration Script” button of the “Kerberos” tab:Kerberos

This script has two steps:

  • SPN registration: The Service Principal Name (SPN) registers the host in the Kerberos environment, so that services running on it can authenticate against other services.
  • Keytab generation: The Keytab file contains the shared password provided by Kerberos that is used to authenticate against other services. Example:

The default script registers the SPNs and generates the Keytab for the HTTP service in the host where Tableau Server is installed for the “Run as User” account using the setspn and ktpass commands. For example:


setspn -s HTTP/tableauhost DOMAIN\runasuser

setspn -s HTTP/tableauhost.domain DOMAIN\runasuser

ktpass /princ HTTP/tableauhost.domain@DOMAIN /pass runasuserpass /ptype KRB5_NT_PRINCIPAL /out keytabs\kerberos.keytab


There are some scenarios where the default configuration can be problematic:

  • Scenario 1: Duplicate SPN

In some environments, another service might have already registered an SPN for the HTTP service in the host where Tableau Server is installed. An example could be a web server installed in the same host. If this already-existing SPN has been registered for a user other than the Tableau Server “Run as User” you will get an error, since duplicate SPNs for the same service/host pair are not allowed:

Kerberos

There are two ways to overcome this problem. If the existing SPN is not used anymore, you can delete it using the setspn –D command, and then create the new SPN without any problem. If the old SPN is still being used, it will be mandatory to use the user for which the existing SPN was created as the Tableau Server “Run as User”.


  • Scenario 2: Multiple host aliases

It is common to use an alias that is different from the host name to access Tableau Server. For example, you might connect to http://tableau.domain.com, instead of using http://tableauhost. If using an alias registered in your Domain Name Server (DNS), you will have to create SPNs for all of them. For example:


setspn -s HTTP/tableau DOMAIN\runasuser

setspn -s HTTP/tableau.domain.com DOMAIN\runasuser


In this case, you will also need to generate a Keytab for each alias. However, Tableau Server only allows one Keytab file. Therefore, you will have to nest all the Keytab files, one by one (for each alias). To do so, you can use the option \in of the ktpass command. For example:


ktpass /princ HTTP/tableauhost.domain@DOMAIN /pass runasuserpass /ptype KRB5_NT_PRINCIPAL /out keytabs\kerberos_1.keytab

ktpass /princ HTTP/tableau.domain.com@DOMAIN.COM /pass runasuserpass /in keytabs\kerberos_1.keytab /ptype KRB5_NT_PRINCIPAL /out keytabs\kerberos_1.keytab


The intermediate file names are not important, but the last Keytab file must keep the name “kerberos.keytab”.


 

The script will have to be executed from the Command Prompt (CMD) by a user with domain administration rights. After running the script it is important that no error messages appear while registering the SPNs and that the Keytab file has been generated.

Finally, import the Keytab file into Tableau Server and test the configuration. If everything is correct, you will receive an OK message after the test.

Kerberos

If you restart Tableau Server now, the users of Active Directory will be able to use the SSO feature

Authentication delegation to MSSAS

The use of Kerberos delegation to Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services (MSSAS) is very useful from a security point of view. If you have security roles defined in your OLAP cubes for the Active Directory users, the users will only see the information they are allowed to see without including any extra security in the Tableau workbooks.

In order to enable the delegation to MSSAS, first configure the “Run as User” account to act as part of the operating system. For that purpose, open the Local Security Policy application from “Start -->Administrative Tools --> Local Security Policy”.

Kerberos

Once there, go to “Local Policies -->User Rights Assignment --> Act as part of the operating system (right click) --> Properties”.

Kerberos

Finally, click on “Add User or Group…” and add the “Run as User” account.

Kerberos

After this step, you will have to configure the services that will be delegated. This has to be done by an Active Directory administrator using the Active Directory Administrative Center. Find the “Run as User” account in the list and right click to enter the “Properties” menu. From there go to the “Delegation” tab and select the options “Trust this user for delegation to specific services only” and “Use any authentication method”. Finally, click on “Add…” and select the MSSAS service from the list of available services. The MSSAS services will have names like “MSOLAPSvc.3”.

Kerberos

It is important to keep in mind that, whenever you upload a workbook to Tableau Server, if you want the Kerberos delegation to be used, you will have to configure the authentication options. In this case, select “Viewer credentials” as the authentication method for the MSSAS data source.

Kerberos

OBIEE 11g Installation in Silent Mode

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At ClearPeaks we recently received a request to perform an OBIEE installation on an Oracle Enterprise Linux (OEL) server without Graphical User Interface (GUI).

The Repository Creation Utility (RCU) and the Oracle Universal Installer (OUI) offer the capability of being executed without a graphical assistant. It will be necessary to run them in SILENT MODE.

Since a database was already installed, only the RCU and OBIEE silent installation process is described in this post.

1. Schema Creation with RCU

1.1 Prerequisites

Make sure that Database and listener are running

1.2  Schema creation

1.2.1  Passwords file creation

As it is a silent installation, the RCU installer will require a text file containing the following passwords (with this sorting):

  • Database password
  • Component 1 schema password (BIPLATFORM)
  • Component 2 schema password (MDS)

vi rcu_passwords.txt


OBIEE Silent Mode

Ensure that the file belongs to Oracle before running the rcu command.

1.2.2 Execution in silent mode

As in every schema creation through RCU, it will be necessary to obtain the software from the Oracle site and extract it. The executable is located at rcuHome/bin/

Execute the following command to start the installer in silent mode:


./rcu -silent -createRepository -connectString localhost:1521:orcl -dbUser SYS -dbRole SYSDBA -schemaPrefix DEV -component BIPLATFORM -component MDS -f < ../../rcu_passwords.txt


After a while, this should be the result:

OBIEE Silent Mode

2. OBIEE Installation

2.1  Prerequisites

2.1.1   Database and listener

As in the RCU execution, the database and the listener need to be started and working before starting the OUI.

2.1.2  Schemas created through RCU

BIPLATFORM and MDS schemas must be created during the RCU installation.

2.1.3  Unset ORACLE HOME variable

If you have already installed an ORACLE database within the same server where you are going to install the OBIEE server, the ORACLE_HOME environment variable must be disabled. Bear in mind that the variable remains disabled only in the terminal session.

Execute the following command (as root):


unset ORACLE_HOME


OBIEE Silent Mode

2.1.4  Set Kernel Parameters

The last step is to modify the Kernel Parameters (as root):

The next lines must be added in the limits.conf file

  • oracle hard nofile 4096
  • oracle soft nofile 4096

vi /etc/security/limits.conf


OBIEE Silent Mode

2.2  Silent validation

2.2.1  Response file creation

If you don’t have GUI in your server, you can edit the response file I used for this installation:

response_file

It will be necessary to replace the <SECURE_VALUE> for your actual passwords.

2.2.2  Silent validation execution

Before installing OBIEE, a silent validation is required. OUI needs the response file to be executed in silent mode.

Ensure that the response file belongs to Oracle before running the installer.

Execute the following command as an Oracle user (the full path of the response file is required).


./runInstaller -silentvalidate -response /home/oracle/Desktop/bi_binaries/obiee_binaries/bishiphome/Disk1/response_file.rsp


You can ignore the following error:

OBIEE Silent Mode

2.3  Silent installation

2.3.1  Location file

If you already have an oraInst.loc file in your system, you can use it:


vi /home/oracle/app/oracle/product/11.2.0/dbhome_1/oraInst.loc


OBIEE Silent Mode

If this file does not exist on the system, the installation program creates it automatically.

2.3.2  Silent installation execution

This is the last and most critical step of the installation. Please make sure that all the previous steps have been performed successfully.

Execute the OUI in silent mode (as an Oracle user):


./runInstaller -silent -response /home/oracle/Desktop/bi_binaries/obiee_binaries/bishiphome/Disk1/response_file.rsp -invPtrLoc /home/oracle/app/oracle/product/11.2.0/dbhome_1/oraInst.loc


This step will take several minutes. If the previous steps have been performed correctly, the installation should end successfully.

Conclusion

This post outlines how to fully install OBIEE 11g on a Linux server without GUI.

Advantages of the silent mode installation include:

  • No need to consume extra resources with the graphical user interface.
  • The whole installation could be automatically executed by a script.
  • Possibility to perform equal installations if the response files don’t change.
  • No need to spend more time executing the graphical wizard manually.

For more information, consult the official Oracle documentation:

Oracle BI Mobile App Designer v2 – Key Features

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Introduction

Oracle BI Mobile App Designer (MAD) is the tool integrated on OBIEE 11g to perform analytics on mobile devices, as explained on a previous blog article, this article will extend the Oracle BI Mobile App Designer explaining the new features of the Mobile App Designer V2.

This version of bimad comes into the patch 18794832

Redesigned UI

The layout of the tool has completely changed, now we can add components on the pages using the “+” button on the top of the page designer, filters and calculated fields will appear on the left hand side of the window, below the datasources.This new design is much intuitive than the previous one:

Oracle MAD

Oracle MAD

MAD 3

 

Exploration Template

This new page template will allow us to make an exploratory analysis on the data by adding filters on the right hand of the layout, for numerical data, the filter displays as an slidebar, for categorical data, we can choose several values from the list of the available filters

Oracle MAD

 New Map Component

This is probably one of the most useful changes on this version, it comes by default with a map component, so there is no need to code your own plugins to visualize maps, we can choose between region maps and location maps, which allow us to display lat-long coded data

Oracle MAD

there are several country maps you can download from the oracle OTN here:

http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/middleware/bi-foundation/default-2397753.html

the map component of the first releases of MAD V2 did not have zoom button features on the map, so you may need to download and install the April’15 patch to use it, you will have just to deploy the new .ear file. Can be downloaded here:

https://support.oracle.com/epmos/faces/PatchDetail?_afrLoop=280648419500544&patchId=20823740&_afrWindowMode=0&_adf.ctrl-state=qiyeq9qlu_66

Calculated Fields and filters

Now we will be able to create calculated fields and filter. Using the Formula editor we can create custom fields, this fields will be available as any other element in the data source.

Oracle MAD

To create a Filter select the filters tab in the right pane and click the + icon, you can the apply this filter to the different charts added into the layout.

Oracle MAD

These filters can be added to another components on the data tab into the properties of the component

Plugin SDK

This new feature allow you to create your custom plugins without the need to have a complete environment. It comes with a test server based on node.js that will help you to develop your own plugins. You can download and follow the guide to install it by clicking on Create plugin and the download bimad.zip. Once coded you can deploy them as in the previous version, pasting them into the /plugins folder of the bipublisher

Oracle MAD

Tableau 9.0 – another game changing release for Data Discovery and Visualisation!

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tableau_logo_2013

We are very excited to inform you of the recent (April 7) Tableau release 9.0

Our in-house team of Tableau experts have been beta testing the product for some time now and have highlighted some key new features which will undoubtedly delight our user community, namely:

 

  • A redesigned start experience that gives you quick access to resources and inspiring examples
  • New data prep tools designed to reduce the amount of time you spend wrestling with cross-tab style spreadsheets that have messy headers and footers
  • Smart maps with geographic search and lasso or radial select.
  • Story Points formatting options that let you customize the fonts and colors of your data stories
  • Powerful new analytics features that enable you to ask and answer questions of your data without leaving your workflow
  • Instant calculation editing and LOD calculations
  • Significant performance enhancements and much more

We would be more than happy to help you in discovering and visualising your data with Tableau 9.0 – simply get in touch!

 

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